Tag Archives: global

David Beckham named by China as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive game

Save us Becks! China name PSG midfielder as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive their faltering domestic game

Olympics last year and Chinese officials expect his popularity and influence to restore the game's credibility in their country.

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

Game changer: David Beckham was a second-half substitute as PSG crashed to a shock defeat at Stade Reims

'2013 marks the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL,' said a spokesman for the CFA.

'While in China, he will attend the CSL and visit clubs to get a deeper insight into football in China.

'He will also help us to inspire and motivate many children to participate in this beautiful game.'

Didier Drogba

Nicolas Anelka

Brief: Former Chelsea forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both quit early into their spells at Shanghai

VIDEO: Watch match highlights of Reims v PSG here…

Blackburn Rovers crisis: players revolt, Shebby Singh under pressure

Revealed: From boardroom split to player revolt, the inside story of crisis engulfing Blackburn

Senior players revolt after poor start to season
Derek Shaw wants controversial Shebby Singh out
Club no closer to naming successor to Henning Berg

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UPDATED:

09:07 GMT, 31 December 2012

Crisis club Blackburn are in greater disarray than ever after being rocked by a bitter boardroom split and a growing revolt among senior players.

Managing director Derek Shaw flew to India at the weekend to try and convince the club’s owners Venky’s to end the farcical reign of their global advisor Shebby Singh.

Former Preston chairman Shaw, an experienced football administrator, has become increasingly frustrated at being marginalised by Singh and has brought matters to a head by confronting the owners over it.

Controversial: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh is under pressure

Controversial: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh is under pressure

While Shaw fights his own personal battle, and tries to oust the controversial Singh, Venky’s are facing just as big a problem trying to quell mounting unrest in a disillusioned dressing room.

Several senior players were reluctant to drop into the Championship, after last season’s relegation, but relented after Singh urged them to give it until Christmas for the club to demonstrate their ambition about trying to bounce straight back.

Most feel that, far from seeing
evidence of Singh’s predicted revival, Blackburn have continued to
decline after the shambolic handling of appointing a successor to Steve
Kean.

The mood was not
helped by the presence of untried Asian coach Judan Ali at their
training ground at the end of last week, and several are now ready to
jump ship and seek a move in the January transfer window.

Though Singh denied Ali was about to
become part of the coaching team at Ewood Park, the continuing fiasco of
the management set-up at Blackburn, a contentious issue that has been
allowed to tear the club apart ever since Sam Allardyce was sacked, has
caused ructions at board level and in the dressing room.

Protest: Blackburn fans make a point

Protest: Blackburn fans make a point

When the vilified Kean finally decided he’d had enough earlier this season, Shaw is understood to have favoured a move for Blackpool boss Ian Holloway but was overruled by Singh, who bizarrely went for Henning Berg, despite the former Blackburn defender being sacked for almost relegating Lillestrom.

That was the last straw for Shaw and
prompted his trip to India for showdown talks with Venky’s, while
Blackburn’s players have been just as dismayed by the ensuing decline in
fortunes that prompted Singh to acknowledge his folly and axe Berg
after just 10 games in charge.

With little sign of the
desperately-needed managerial know-how being recruited, other than
suggestions that one-time Aston Villa caretaker-boss Kevin MacDonald
might be added to the coaching staff, several disaffected players are
now ready to push for a move in the next few weeks.

Singh appeared on BBC Radio
FiveLive’s 606 phone-in on Saturday night and flew into a rage after
being quizzed about his input on the training pitch.

Co-presenter Darren Fletcher asked if
he had taken training on Friday, and it clearly touched a nerve, as
Singh shouted down the line:
‘Oh come on, give me a break. How stupid is that Surely no-one believes
that. I did not take training yesterday. That is really stupid for
anyone to even think that.

‘That is downright stupidity to even
suggest that. I was at the training ground because of my
responsibilities, but on the pitch, I have no involvement whatsoever.
Listen to me, I did not take training.’

Singh appeared to confirm that he was at loggerheads with Shaw and also took the rap for the disastrous appointment of Berg.

Asked to define his role, he said: ‘It
is difficult to explain when it is not a conventional title, but I am
pretty much trying to put the club back on a proper footing. I am
fighting enemies from inside and outside the club. Inside every club,
you find that not everyone is fighting the same cause. Individuals have
their own agenda. This is common everywhere you go.

Over and out: Blackburn sacked Henning Berg after ten matches in charge

Over and out: Blackburn sacked Henning Berg after ten matches in charge

‘I make the decisions, with the owners’ blessing and endorsement. It upsets a lot of people, but unfortunately that’s the way it is. The final decision about appointing Henning Berg was mine, but results were very poor and performances were not the best. A decision had to be made on how long you can put up with that.

‘You always think you have made the right decision, but it doesn’t always work out. I do not agree that 57 days was not long enough. It was 10 games. To me, 10 games is a lifetime. I got it wrong on that one. I will hold my hands up and say that, but it is not the end of the world. We still have to soldier on, and the team can still progress.’

Singh attempted to clarify the situation over Ali, saying: ‘I had a chat with him nine weeks ago, and he was interested in visiting the club to see how things were done. He came here to observe training and how the club functioned. Every coach wants to know that as part of their education.

'The timing (of his visit) was not right, unfortunately, but he is a friend. We enjoy talking about football, but it was not the plan that he would be part of the coaching set-up, and I don’t know why people think there is something happening.’

Sir Alex Ferguson: Manchester United boss reveals secrets of his success

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

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UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 19 December 2012

Read the full Fergie study

You can purchase the
Sir Alex Ferguson case study from Harvard Business School HERE

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed for the first time the secrets of how he became the most successful manager in British football history.

The Manchester United manager opened up and provided a fascinating insight into his 26-year career at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, who will be 71
on New Year’s Eve, collaborated with academics at the prestigious
Harvard Business School in Boston studying his management style.

Team talk: Sir Alex Ferguson at the Harvard Business School

Team talk: Sir Alex Ferguson at the Harvard Business School

Famous fury: Sir Alex Ferguson says he is much calmer these days

Famous fury – but there's a softer side: Sir Alex Ferguson says he is much calmer these days

The Fergie files: The key links
I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professorsFergie in full: Tenor for a team talk, moving on from losing the title and why he's too Scottish to be like Mourinho – what the United boss told Harvard UniversityFerguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

He wanted to pass on his blueprint for managing one of the biggest sport clubs in the world and a global brand.

The ultimate decision maker, chief executive David Gill summed it up when he said: 'Steve Jobs was Apple. Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United.'

The in-depth study by Professor Anita Elberse and
Tom Dye – titled Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United – reveals his blueprint for planning the season, match-day rituals, the
players he targets, keeping control of the dressing room and the
mistakes he made.

The study also shows how he prepares his team, the way he conducts his team-talks and
how he changes a game's direction at half-time.

Ferguson said: ‘I like to tell different stories, and
use my imagination. But generally, it is about our expectations, their
belief in themselves, and their trust in each other.

'I remember going to
see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical
concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the
coordination and the teamwork, one starts and one stops, just fantastic.'

Ferguson also spoke about his ruthless streak in dealing with players.

He said: ‘We fine them, but we keep
it indoors. You can’t ever lose control — not when you are dealing with
thirty top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps
out of my control, that’s them dead.’

Driven: Ferguson's will to win is legendary (above) but he has fostered a softer side (below)

Driven: Sir Alex's will to win is legendary, above, but he also has a softer side, below

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United

But the Scot admitted he had been forced to change his approach during his time at Old Trafford,

‘Players these days have lived more sheltered lives, so they are much more fragile now than 25 years ago,' he said.

‘I was very aggressive all those years ago. I am passionate and want to win all the time. But today I’m more mellow.

'And I can better handle those more fragile players now. There’s all this hype about hairdryers and anger and so on.

'You can't always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn't work.

'But
there’s another side to it, which is more in terms of how I have
fostered relations with people and developed the team over the years.

Video: How Bocelli inspired Fergie

'For
a player – and for any human being – there's nothing better than
hearing 'well done'. Those are the two best words ever invented in
sports.'

Ferguson admitted he was on a mission after losing the Premier League title to Manchester City last season

He said: ‘Another day in the history of Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only United can produce. Who would have thought that Blackburn, being bottom of the league, would beat us 3-2 at Old Trafford Or that Everton would draw with us when we were up 4-2 with seven minutes to go'

He knew the dynamic of the ‘Manchester derby’ had intensified, however, and that this latest challenge could not have hit any closer to home.

He added: 'I’ve still got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of how we threw the league away last season. My motivation to the players will be that we can’t let City beat us twice in a row.'

ferguson harvard study

Ferguson also visited Harvard to take a class on management.

He
told the official college newspaper Harvard Gazette: 'When you're
approached by an institution like Harvard, you know you are dealing with
top quality.

'I had to consider that I was opening myself up to something I've never done before.

'But
at this stage of my life, I felt that I'm helping young people progress
through their own routes to management, then ultimately that was an
important and compelling factor for me.

'The
part of the discussion from which I learned the most about myself was
when they were discussing the balance between 'fear' and 'love' in my
approach to managing people.

Challenge: Ferguson had had to change his approach over the years

Challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson has had to change his approach over the years

'If you look at my history, there's all this hype about hair-dryers and anger and so on.

'But the students acknowledged another side to it, which is more apt in terms of how I've fostered relations with people and developed the team over the years.'

Ferguson also gave an impromptu pep talk to the college's American football team.

Head coach Carl Junot said: 'They were expecting me to come in and given them the practice plan and in walks Alex Ferguson. They were blown away.'

Manchester City on course for Financial Fair Play despite losing 100m

Man City lose 100m… but insist they're still on course to meet financial fair play rules

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 14 December 2012

Manchester City have revealed annual losses of almost 100million –
but insist they are still on course to fall in line with the new
financial fair play rules.

Although City's losses have been halved, they still posted a loss of 97.9m in the annual report for the 2011-12 season. City's overall wage bill rose from 151.6m to 178.1m.

Value for money: Manchester City have announced an interesting set of financial figures for the year

Value for money: Manchester City have announced an interesting set of financial figures for the year

The new financial fair play rules – that are introduced at the start of the next Barclays Premier League season – which require clubs to meet a series of stipulations.

City are confident as 15m of the losses comes from infrastructure and youth development costs, while approximately 80m comes from contracts that pre-date 2010, from which City expect to get some kind of relief.

A statement read: 'Whilst the 2011-12 financial results represent a
further step towards achieving the club’s objective of long-term
sustainability both on and off the field, the application of UEFA
allowable reliefs for certain categories of expenditure and investment
in 2011-12, position the club well for compliance with UEFA’s financial
fair play regulations which come into effect in season 2013-14.'

City's annual figures also revealed that they have recorded whopping
revenue of 231.1m – the first time they have smashed through the 200m
mark.

While the results show marginal increases in gate receipts and TV revenue, it is in the commercial sector where City are making huge gains.

Revenue went up from 64.7m to 121.1m, underlining City's increased growing global exposure, which is being shown in all areas, from merchandise to club tours.

The statement continued: 'This year’s report demonstrates the
tangible and positive impact of four years of strategic investment in
all operations since the acquisition of the Club by Sheikh Mansour bin
Zayed in September 2008.

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

Bright: City are able to put plenty of cash into their future, and announced plans for a new academy site

MANCHESTE CITY REPORT

Read City's annual report in full here

'Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak recognises the historic on field
achievements of 2011-12 and the impact on the club at home and
overseas. He also emphasises, following the securing of planning
permission, the importance of the City Football Academy (CFA) project to
the future of the Club and the community in which it resides, calling
it 'the most significant current initiative to secure the long-term
sustainability of the Club’s football operations'.

Chief executive officer Ferran Soriano, who arrived at the club
earlier this year after his time with Barcelona, said: 'What I have
found is a club on the verge of a historic transformation, reinforced by
a genuine commitment to doing things well. It is a club with a rich
history and the potential for an even brighter future.'

Radamel Falcao to be offered 200,000 a week by Chelsea

Under Rafa, Torres can't stop scoring but STILL Roman will make Falcao his top earner at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

08:47 GMT, 14 December 2012

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to make Radamel Falcao the club's top earner by offering the striker a staggering 10million-a-year contract.

The Colombia forward is the club's No 1 transfer target and the Russian billionaire is determined to ensure the prolific South American becomes the next global superstar to make his way to Stamford Bridge.

Blue could be his colour: Radamel Falcao is the most in-demand striker in Europe

Blue could be his colour: Radamel Falcao is the most in-demand striker in Europe

And Sportsmail has learned the West London club will offer the 26-year-old a deal worth in the region of 200,000-per-week, to lure Falcao.

The pay package would eclipse the club's current top earner Fernando Torres, who is understood to earn 175,000-per-week.

The staggering salary underlines how
serious the current Champions League holders are about signing Falcao,
who is viewed as the hottest property in world football.

Meanwhile, Blues starlet Connor Hunte, 16, is close to signing a new long-term contract with the Blues.

The England Under-17 international has been tipped to have a major impact at Chelsea by the club's academy staff.

Manchester City are keen on poaching
the midfielder, who has been compared to Germany international Mesut
Ozil, but Chelsea look to have secured Hunte's future.

Full package: Falcao cost Atletico 38million when he replaced Sergio Aguero

Full package: Falcao cost Atletico 38million when he replaced Sergio Aguero

Full package: Falcao cost Atletico 38million when he replaced Sergio Aguero

Money talks: Fernando Torres is under pressure at Chelsea, despite the arrival of fellow countryman Rafael Benitez on loan

Money talks: Fernando Torres is under pressure at Chelsea, despite the arrival of fellow countryman Rafael Benitez on loan

Matt Parker will learn rugby is not exact science – Chris Foy

New guru Parker will soon learn rugby is not an exact science

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

When England were building towards their 2003 World Cup triumph, Clive Woodward repeatedly talked of the ‘one per centers’ — the focus on minor details which combined to give his side a crucial advantage.

Now the concept is back on the agenda for the national team, but this time they are taking their cue from British Cycling. Matt Parker, the sports scientist who was head of ‘marginal gains’ and played such a part in the glorious exploits in the Olympic Velodrome during London 2012, will soon be working at Twickenham as head of athletic performance.

It was unfortunate that news of the appointment should come on the back of a grim home defeat. This presented a comedic open-goal, and sure enough one wag on Twitter quipped: ‘It isn’t a marginal gain they need, it’s a cavernous gain.’

Different ball game: Matt Parker was head of 'marginal gains' for the cycling team at the Olympics

Different ball game: Matt Parker was head of 'marginal gains' for the cycling team at the Olympics

Yet, what the new recruit represents is an encouraging desire for England to set global standards once again, using any trump card they can muster. Expertise from within the ranks of British Cycling could serve as a major asset in that regard.

More from Chris Foy…

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However, what Parker will find is a sport where the appliance of science is, in a sense, a more subtle and complex business than it is in cycling. Rugby presents a less defined challenge for his winning methods. Granted, much comes down to physical preparation and a successful mind-set, which he will recognise, but raw emotion and collective will come into the equation in a way he may not.

Rugby and science have become joined at the hip. Players wear GPS tracking devices to gauge speed and movement, their heart-rate is monitored and analysed. Diets are strictly controlled, gym regimes are meticulously prepared.

But this is a game which puts an onus on raw courage and that cannot be drilled, although the work of psychologists helps. And old-school values have not been wholly eradicated. In France, there is still plenty of bread on the table and many players still enjoy a drop of red. Saracens have made a virtue of their ‘bonding’ weekends at Munich’s Oktoberfest and elsewhere.

There was a striking contrast after Argentina’s win in Cardiff this month. While the vanquished trooped off for stints in an ice chamber to aid their recovery, the victors cracked open a crate of cider. So, England are right to embrace progress and a visionary approach but they would be wise to strike a balance between new ways and old.

Quote of the week

England flanker Tom Wood reveals how he manages a persistent foot problem with this unusual alternative to a traditional spa session: ‘I put my foot in ice — I make it hot and cold to flush inflammation out.

‘I also claw with my feet in buckets of sand and rice in order to strengthen the toes. I try to do it three times a day. It’s generally done down in the physio room.

‘It’s quite nice here at Pennyhill Park, we have the massage and physio room downstairs, with the TV on, so I can just head down there and get the various treatments I need. I can get pampered for an afternoon in a bucket of rice!’

Rice is nice: Tom Wood loves to be pampered in a bucket of grain

Rice is nice: Tom Wood loves to be pampered in a bucket of grain

You’re still a hero at Exeter, Tom

Rob Baxter, Exeter’s director of rugby, evidently has a canny grasp of man-management. On Tuesday, he was given the unexpected news that Tom Johnson would be back with the Chiefs this weekend, after being dropped by England. His response was of the arm-round-the-shoulder kind — a strong public statement of faith in his surely despondent player.

‘Tom’s been incredibly unlucky but sometimes players get dropped on the back of a team performance rather than an individual one and that is what has happened with him,’ said Baxter. ‘He’s in that unfortunate position where he hasn’t done anything wrong. Most people have been very complimentary about the way he’s played.

‘I’m a little upset for Tom, but sometimes it’s a case of, “Last man in, first man out”, when they’ve looked to make changes, which I can understand.’

Thus, Baxter tactfully questioned England’s selection and bolstered Johnson’s self-esteem. Expect the flanker to respond with a storming performance against London Irish on Sunday.

The final word

To call this a big weekend for Wales would be something of an under-statement.

With the edifice of Welsh rugby seemingly on the brink of collapse, Lions coach Warren Gatland is back at the helm, with a Midas touch needed to avert a calamity against the All Blacks. Mixed messages are emerging about morale in the ranks.

Blame game: Warren Gatland said the media created a 'rift' in his squad

Blame game: Warren Gatland said the media created a 'rift' in his squad

On the one hand, the Kiwi was relaxed when naming his side and revealed that a quip to his management team at the start of the week that ‘the Messiah is back’ was met by a mocking put-down, which he took to be an encouraging sign.

Yet, on the other hand, Gatland condemned the media for supposedly creating a ‘rift’ between openside rivals Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric, while Jonathan Davies laid bare the hurt over criticism of players on Twitter.

If there is a concerted attempt to circle the wagons and create an us-against-the-world, siege mentality ahead of tomorrow’s clash with New Zealand, that could be an astute move. But if these are indications of a thin-skinned squad feeling the strain, heaven help them when Richie McCaw and Co set about them.

David Luiz, Gareth Bale, Rio Ferdinand, Vincent Kompany on lFIFpro list of world"s best defenders

What games have they been watching Luiz and Bale on FIFPro list of world's best defenders

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UPDATED:

20:24 GMT, 22 November 2012

Chelsea's error-prone centre-half David Luiz and Tottenham winger Gareth Bale have been named on a 20-player list of defenders in contention to be named in a FIFPro World XI.

Chelsea and Barcelona have provided
entire back lines to a 20-player list of defenders in contention to be
named in a FIFPro World XI.

In the running;: Chelsea defender David Luiz (right)

In the running;: Chelsea defender David Luiz (right)

Barcelona has five candidates for
four places in the lineup: Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique,
Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba.

Chelsea captain John Terry is joined by Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz.

Real Madrid provides Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo, while Manchester United has Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand.

Tottenham's Gareth Bale has also reached the defensive shortlist, despite playing the bulk of his games for club and country as a winger.

Interesting choice: Tottenham's Gareth Bale

Interesting choice: Tottenham's Gareth Bale

The shortlist also includes Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich) and Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain).

The FIFPro World XI, chosen by 50,000 members of the global players' union, will be announced on January 7 at the FIFA Ballon D'Or gala in Zurich.

David Beckham in talks to join Australian A-League

Is Becks heading Down Under Ex-England captain could join Heskey and Co in Oz

PUBLISHED:

07:45 GMT, 16 November 2012

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 November 2012

David Beckham could be set to make a stunning short-term move to the A-League after Football Federation Australia claimed it was in talks to bring the former England captain Down Under.

Beckham signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy in January, but could spend part of the Major Soccer League off-season in Australia.

The 37-year-old has previously joined AC Milan on loan between MLS seasons and the FFA said it had been approached by his management about the possibility of a deal to see him play in the the A-League.

Down Under: Beckham is seeking a move to Australia

Down Under: LA Galaxy star Beckham is seeking a move to Australia

The big-name players Becks could join

Alessandro Del Piero (age 37)
The 91-cap Italy legend recently sealed a move to Sydney FC after a glittering career in Serie A for Juventus.

Emile Heskey (age 34)
The much-maligned former England international has become an instant hit in Australia after joining the Newcastle Jets.

Shinji Ono (age 33)
The former Japan international signed for the Western Sydney Wanderers on a two-year deal

'The approach from David Beckham's
people is another sign of how much the Hyundai A-League has grown in
stature on a global basis,' an FFA spokesperson said.

'Beckham is a superstar on the world
stage and he would be another massive signing for the Hyundai A-League
after the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono.

'But this approach remains at a very preliminary stage.'

Reports in Australia suggest that any move for Beckham would likely see him agree a 10-match stay.

A spokesman for Beckham however was
quick to refute the claim, saying: 'David is completely focused on the
MLS play offs and winning another Championship with the Galaxy.

Emile Heskey

Alessandro Del Piero

Australian revolution: Heskey and Del Piero have recently moved to the A-League

'There's always enormous interest from clubs across world in signing David. He has absolutely no plans to play in Australia.'

Beckham could play his last Galaxy
game of the season this weekend when his side meet the Seattle Sounders
in the second leg of their Western Conference Championship play-off.

Centre of attention: Beckham's one-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy is due to expire in the next month

Eye on the ball: Beckham could be set to make a short-term move to Australia

The A-League's 'marquee' rule

Any move for Beckham would need to be part-funded by the FFA with the A-League clubs, who work under a salary cap, unlikely to be able to afford his demands.

Most of the Australian clubs have also already secured their marquee player – whose wages are not registered under the salary cap – for the new season, which began early last month.

Perth Glory have already stated an interest in Beckham and Lyall Gormal, executive chairman of new A-League franchise Western Sydney Wanderers, said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid would have obvious commercial appeal.

He told Sky Sports News: 'We haven't had formal or informal contact over this, but clearly we are aware of the iconic vale of David Beckham.

'Beckham is outstanding. We've seen him here before on a couple of occasions. There was an 80,000 sell-out at the Olympic Stadium and he was here with the Galaxy the year before last for a game against the Newcastle Jets.

'He would be a fantastic commodity to bring to Australia.'

David Beckham

David Beckham

No move: Melbourne Victory have already ruled out a move for the former England captain

On the contradictory statements from the FFA and the Beckham camp, Gormal added: 'It is puzzling isn't it

'My understanding is there have been
informal approaches to other clubs. One or two have already come out and
talked about their interest. 'Clearly there has been some informal
discussions so it is a bit puzzling.'

Galaxy meet the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of their Western Conference Championship play-off this weekend.

The Galaxy hold a 3-0 advantage after
Robbie Keane scored twice in the first leg. Should Beckham make the
move he would join the likes of former Juventus and Italy star Del Piero
and Heskey, who joined the A-League in the summer.

Head boy: A spokesperson for Beckham has dismissed the story

Head boy: A spokesperson for Beckham has dismissed the story

The Glory, last season's beaten grand
finalists, are yet to fill that position, however, and their chief
executive Paul Kelly immediately indicated they would be keen should
Beckham be available.

'We are always happy to speak to
players of the calibre of David Beckham, who would be great for the
Hyundai A-League as illustrated by the effect of Alessandro Del Piero,
Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono,' he said.

'At the end of the day it's the
coach, Ian Ferguson who makes these decisions and we as a club, have a
process that we follow when recruiting players.

'But we would be mad not to seriously consider David Beckham.'

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has ruled out making an approach for Beckham.

'That's great if he is coming,' Victory manager Ange Postecoglou told local media. 'Would we be interested Nah.'

Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman told Fairfax Media: 'If we were approached, we would go through the normal process. 'We've had no approaches at all. We don't speculate on those things until they come across our table.'

Jorge Lorenzo blames James Ellison for spectacular crash

Lorenzo blames Brit Ellison for spectacular crash in final race of MotoGP season

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 12 November 2012

Jorge Lorenzo has laid the blame for his spectacular crash in the MotoGP season finale firmly on James Ellison.

Lorenzo had already sewn up the title a fortnight ago at Phillip Island before his stunning dismount in Valencia.

The Spaniard was making his way through some back markers with 17 laps to go when he was forced to take evasive action behind Ellison.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO…

Lift off! Lorenzo is forced off his bike with Ellison just in front of him

Lift off! Lorenzo is forced off his bike with Ellison just in front of him

Lift off! Lorenzo is forced off his bike with Ellison just in front of him

His bike bucked beneath him and sent him sprawling onto the track, before dusting himself down and pointing the finger of blame squarely at the 32-year-old British rider.

'I arrived into a group of riders and came to Ellison, who looked behind, saw me and then suddenly entered the good line rather than letting me pass,' Lorenzo told the official MotoGP website.

'That’s why I crashed. I tried to overtake him (so as) not to lose time to Dani, but we got on the wet Tarmac and crashed.'

Lorenzo admitted he was disappointed not
to end a triumphant campaign with victory, but said a second crown
easily outweighed the upset.

On the slide: Lorenzo careers across the tarmac and finally comes to a halt in the gravel

On the slide: Lorenzo careers across the tarmac and finally comes to a halt in the gravel

On the slide: Lorenzo careers across the tarmac and finally comes to a halt in the gravel

'The most important thing is we are world champion, no If we arrive here without that, I crash and lose it would be much worse.

'It was a pity – I made the tough choice of starting with the slick tyre, I was doing well and leading, and I wanted to win the last race.

'But I can take a global view and it’s wonderful to be twice world champion.

'We took the gold medal, so let's party tonight – only one leg because I have pain, but it doesn't matter. We are very happy and proud of our championship.'

VIDEO: Lorenzo is thrown from his bike in spectacular crash

Celtic"s victory over Barcelona comes from a league in chaos

Celtic's seismic victory over Barcelona was born out of chaos

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 8 November 2012

Glasgow: there is something special about the way football weaves like a parallel river Clyde through this city, something tangible about the manic significance of the game in everyday life. It is a force of identity, one that has coated generations of Glaswegians.

Celtic: there is something special, too, about this club formed in 1888, about a reach that extends from Glasgow’s East End into wider Scotland, across to Ireland and beyond many other shores. The roots are Irish-Scottish, but this is a global club.

It is one housed in a stadium which still has a grand, old-fashioned feel. Celtic Park is an authentic football arena that has been around in different frames almost as long as the club itself.

History-makers: Watt makes it 2-0 and a Spanish newspaper dubs keeper Forster 'The Great Wall'

History-makers: Watt makes it 2-0 and a Spanish newspaper dubs keeper Forster 'The Great Wall'

If you know your history, as they sing, you can feel it alive here. Even some Rangers fans, who know about Glasgow, football and history, respect Celtic and Parkhead.

And on Wednesday night, it breathed and roared again. One day after the club honoured the 125th anniversary of its founding, the ancient and modern collided.

The final score in a Champions League Group G game — Celtic 2 Barcelona 1 — was added to club folklore. Often a defeat is called ‘seismic’. This was a seismic victory that registered throughout Britain.

The famous ground bounced, all sides of it. Unprompted, in the course of a post-match press conference in which he was asked about signing ‘taller players’, Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova mentioned ‘Celtic fans who have been amazing tonight’.

Dream moment: Tony Watt celebrates scoring against Barca

Dream moment: Tony Watt celebrates scoring against Barca

Gerard Pique, one of three World Cup winners on the Barcelona bench, said there were ‘no words to describe the atmosphere at Celtic Park’. These are men who have been places, and who had just lost.

The Celtic goalscorers — Victor Wanyama, a 21-year-old, 900,000 Kenyan, and Tony Watt, an 18-year-old local boy signed for 50,000 from Airdrie — represent the new face of Jock Stein’s club. Celtic’s cute scouting network, headed by John Park, has proved itself.

The club’s record transfer remains the 6million paid to Chelsea for Chris Sutton 12 years ago. Barcelona’s defence in Glasgow contained Dani Alves (31m), Javier Mascherano (17.6m) and Jordi Alba (12.3m).

The contrasts were as vivid as green and white hoops, and they abounded. There was a full-page advert for coal in Wednesday’s match programme. Turn the page and there was a picture of Xavi. Climate change was among many comparisons on a day that made Scottish football think.

The 12th man: Celtic's fans hold a banner with their take on the lyrics from Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses

The 12th man: Celtic's fans hold a banner with their take on the lyrics from Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses

For Celtic, 07/11/12 became all about glory; across in Edinburgh, meanwhile, at Hearts it was getting ever more gory. Heart of Midlothian are another ancient Scottish presence. Formed 14 years before Celtic, Hearts have been at Tynecastle since 1886. It is another ground reeking sweetly of history, but Hearts are in peril.

A few hours before Neil Lennon (below) named a Celtic team missing Scott Brown, Emilio Izaguirre and Gary Hooper — captain, most coveted defender and main striker respectively — Hearts were dealing with omissions of their own. They were issued with a winding-up order by HMRC over 449,692.04 of unpaid tax and National Insurance.

Hearts asked their fans to stump up — again — 110 each in a one-off share issue.

Some people are on the pitch: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's second goal

Some people are on the pitch: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's second goal

‘Without the support of fans there is a real risk Heart of Midlothian Football Club could possibly play its last game next Saturday, 17 November against St Mirren,’ stated the club, adding: ‘This isn’t a bluff, this isn’t scaremongering, this is reality.’

Understandably, supporters feel cornered. As with many other fanbases, Hearts followers now have to consider whether they want to save their club (yes) or the regime that runs their club (probably no).

There is a doomsday scenario which sees Hearts bypass administration and go straight into liquidation. Having lost Rangers in 2012, the SPL could not afford to lose Hearts as well.

Plenty have gloated about Ran-gers’ demise, while the ‘Armageddon’ warning made in July by SFA chief Stewart Regan looks alarmist every time Celtic do well in the Champions League.

Heading for victory: Victor Wanyama puts Celtic ahead

Heading for victory: Victor Wanyama puts Celtic ahead

But Regan also said in July, as Rangers were demoted from the Scottish Premier League to the Third Division: ‘Clubs may be able to survive for a short period but it’s unsustainable. There would be a slow, lingering death for the game in Scotland. There are no winners, there are only losers in this.’

There are question marks against Hearts now. Kilmarnock are thought to have debts of 8m. Dunfermline yesterday denied they are on the brink of administration. There was another game in Scotland on Wednesday night: Motherwell v Dundee United in the SPL. The attendance was under 4,000.

At some stage — six, 12, 18 or 36 months from now — this will surely affect Celtic, whose European successes are unrepresentative of domestic Saturdays. It is a mishmash. Symbolic of a surreal Scottish year is that Lennon, an Irishman who has had his life threatened ostensibly for being Celtic’s manager, should become national spokesman.

Crowded out: Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama challenge Andres Iniesta

Crowded out: Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama challenge Andres Iniesta

‘This is a great footballing country with a great history, whether it be club-wise or nationally,’ Lennon said on Wednesday. ‘It has produced some of the greatest ever players.

‘It’s in a bit of a lull but we’ve got a great club here. When we came into this competition we wanted to gain respect for the players, the club itself and the game here. I hope this has given the game here a huge boost.’

Lennon’s maturity as man and manager is notable. The 41-year-old was on the rocks a year ago. Now he has overseen a victory of which Kenny Dalglish, no less, said: ‘Only Lisbon beats it.’

That was a reference to the European Cup final of 1967, of course. And it is to Lisbon that Celtic go next. They go there as a team ready to reach the Champions League last 16, but from a country worried about the state of its game.

They go, as Loretta Lynn sang, like a diamond in the coal.